Consider the following quote from Burroughs: "Where contentment of heart springs from grace, the heart is very quick and lively in the service of God!"
The conception of contentment with which I grew up was a sort of Stoic impassivity, putting on a good face and suppressing emotions. It was merely bracing yourself against the storms and tempests of afflictions that confront us. Yet, if we look to the Scriptures, we see that is not the biblical meaning of contentment; as Burroughs points out, contentment borne of grace is not satisfied to merely survive through afflictions, but to glorify God by active service in them. We need only look to Paul for evidence of this (though we could look at every apostolic example in the New Testament).
Paul went from city to city, oftentimes suffering physical violence at the hands of those to whom he preached. Yet, he never shrunk from his service to God. Even when he was jailed, he continued diligently in that service by writing letters to the churches which he planted and ministering to his persecutors. The one who was taught to be content in all circumstances was by no means a Stoic! But he used his afflictions as opportunities to further serve the Master.
Let this be an example to us. When we are under the gloomy clouds of dark providences, let us remember to serve our Master; to seek first his kingdom. Rather than asking, "How long must I bear this burden," let us ask instead: "Lord, how would you use me in this affliction?" This is how we submit to the wise disposal of God in all things.
What were some of your thoughts?